It's hard being a ten-year-old girl when everyone wants to turn you into a princess. Welcome to the lives of Bella, Grace, Chloe and Emily...
Emily's Tiara Trouble: The Anti-Princess Club 1
When maths whiz Emily Martin's mother enters her in the local beauty pageant, it's the last straw - the four friends form the Anti-Princess Club, with the motto WE DON'T NEED RESCUING. Can they use their awesome skills to show the world that girls want to be valued for more than what they see in the mirror?
Bella's Backyard Bullies: The Anti-Princess Club 2
Design genius Bella Singh has built a clubhouse in her backyard, where the anti-princesses meet to thumb their noses at the notion that boys are best. But when they receive angry anonymous emails telling them to act like girls or else, followed by sabotage of their beloved clubhouse, it's clear they have a new mission. Can they unite their awesome talents to beat the bullies?
Grace's Dance Disaster: The Anti-Princess Club 3
Sports-mad Grace Bennett is ecstatic when her teacher arranges a training session for her with a famous football team. When Grace arrives on the field, however, her role is not what she expected - and it certainly doesn't involve kicking a ball! How can she and her anti-princess sidekicks teach their teachers that there's more than one way to be a girl?
Chloe's River Rescue: The Anti-Princess Club 4
Science star Chloe Karalis's favourite person in the universe is her grandmother - so she's thrilled when Yiayia comes along for a fab summer holiday with Chloe and her three besties. But when Yiayia goes missing on her daily walk, the foursome know that they're faced with their biggest mission yet. Can they combine their unique talents to rescue their beloved mentor?
Samantha Turnbull is a multi-award winning journalist based in Byron Bay and working at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Her writing has been featured in publications including ABC online, the Canberra Times, Daily Telegraph, Northern Star, SHE magazine, Cosmopolitan and the Walkley magazine.
Samantha decided to get into kids' fiction when she was browsing the book section of a well-known department store and couldn't find anything for her daughter that didn't feature a princess or a fairy.
Samantha doesn't like stories about damsels in distress. She likes to read and write about girls who don't need rescuing.
The Anti-Princess Club books are her debut novels.
The Anti-Princess Club
Allen and Unwin
Author: Samantha Turnbull
Question: What was your inspiration behind The Anti-Princess Club series?
Samantha Turnbull: I've always loved to write stories, but I was inspired to write The Anti-Princess Club when my daughter was born.
First of all, we were bombarded with princess paraphernalia when she was still a little newborn in hospital, and I thought that was all a bit weird… a baby needs nappies and singlets, not tiaras and glitter!
Then, when my daughter was a few weeks old, I took her to a local department store and ventured into the children's book section. In that section of the store, the books had been divided into shelves for girls and boys. And in the girls section there was not a single book that didn't feature a princess or a fairy.
That was when I really decided to start writing The Anti-Princess Club.
Question: What was the best part about creating the characters featured in The Anti-Princess Club series?
Samantha Turnbull: A lot of the characters feature cool traits of my own friends at the same age. So, it was fun to relive my childhood and weave pieces of the people I loved into the Anti-Princess Club characters.
I also loved creating characters who don't fit the usual mould of what you find in a lot of books for girls these days.
Question: Why was it important for you to show young girls (and boys) there is more to life than being a 'princess'?
Samantha Turnbull: I think kids need to realise that princesses are often kind of boring. They're not some magical creature, they're usually not particularly good at or interested in anything (or if they are, we don't know about it), and in the old fashioned Disney-style fairytales princesses were often helpless and needed rescuing.
In real life, girls become princesses because they're born to kings and queens or they marry a prince. It's not exactly something you have to work hard to achieve.
So, I think girls, and boys, should aspire to more exciting lives - because there are SO many more exciting things to become than a princess!
Question: How did your own daughter help with the creation of The Anti-Princess Club series?
Samantha Turnbull: Well, she's only four, but she motivated me to write the series because I wanted to create something that she'd enjoy reading when she was a bit older (the books are for 7-10-year-olds).
Question: What's next for The Anti-Princess Club series?
Samantha Turnbull: There's a very cool website antiprincessclub.com.au with lots of fun things on it. And I'd love to write at least another four Anti-Princess Club books to keep the series going - I have lots of ideas for new characters as well as keeping the original anti-princesses.
Interview by Brooke Hunter